[Foundation-l] Problems with the new license TOS

Brian Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu
Tue Apr 14 17:13:54 UTC 2009

> the archives are mostly useless as a knowledge base.

This is false and you know it. Several of these questions *have* been
debated here and with a few simple searches you could be well on your way to
reading the discussions.

On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 7:35 AM, Tisza Gergő <gtisza at gmail.com> wrote:

> I found a few apparent legal problems while translating the license
> update documents. Apologies if these have already been discussed to
> death - I didn't follow earlier debates, and the archives are mostly
> useless as a knowledge base.
> == revision not specified ==
> The TOS says that reusers have to attribute the authors by linking to
> the article. The problem is that such a link will actually point to a
> different article after each edit (that is, the text and author list
> will have been changed). If you find a text copied from Wikipedia on
> the net, and there is no date information, it is very hard to find out
> which version of the article it is (and thus who the authors are); if
> the text is a derivative work from a Wikipedia article, then it's
> practically impossible.
> Even if one argues that attributing bogus authors is not a problem as
> long as the real ones all appear on the list, the author list can
> change arbitrarily when the article is renamed or deleted and
> rewritten. (Neither of which is apparent even if one looks at the page
> history.)
> A few possible solutions to that:
> - require reusers to permalink to the revision they used; change the
> totally unhelpful error message that is shown when one follows a link
> to a deleted version. (Probably not a very good idea as it messes up
> caching. Also, bad usability: most of the people who click such a link
> don't care about authors and original version one bit, and just want
> to see/edit the current version of the article.)
> - develop some syntax that shows the current version of the article,
> but with a little message on top saying "you have followed a link from
> a page reusing an older version of this article. You can see the most
> recent version of the article; if you want to see the original click
> here." (Maybe through some fragment id trick and javascript so it can
> go through the cache?) We would still have to address links to deleted
> versions.
> - require reusers to give date/revision of the page along with the
> url. Make some sort of search interface to find the text and/or author
> set of an article based on that information.
> == CC version incompatibilities ==
> Copyright policy now says "You may import any text from other sources
> that is available under the CC-BY-SA license", which is incorrect for
> to reasons. First, CC-BY-SA-1.0 (used, for example, by Wikitravel) is
> not compatible with anything but itself (as they forgot to include the
> ("or any later version" part). Second, different versions and
> jurisdictions of CC are not quite compatible: for example if a wiki
> has an article under CC-BY-SA-3.0-US, then uploading that to Wikipedia
> (which will use CC-BY-SA-3.0 unported) is actually a breach of the
> license. You could change the version or jurisdiction when you create
> an adaptation (that is, you make changes significant enough to be
> considered on of the authors), but not when you just redistribute the
> work. (I doubt anything could be done about this beyond prodding CC to
> release a saner version of their license soon.)
> == edit summary cannot contain links ==
> The currently proposed editing policy says:
> "If you import text under the CC-BY-SA license, you must abide by the
> terms of the license; specifically, you must, in a reasonable fashion,
> credit the author(s). Where such credit is commonly given through page
> histories (such as wiki-to-wiki copying), it is sufficient to give
> attribution in the edit summary, which is recorded in the page
> history, when importing the content."
> (which BTW should be rephrased more clearly - does it mean you can use
> the edit summary if you import text from another wiki, but not when
> you do it from any other web page?)
> The problem is that the edit summary does not allow external links:
> they will show as plain text, and it would be hard to argue that that
> is reasonable to the medium. (This one is easy to fix: allow them, and
> rely on rev_delete and capctha to stop edit summary spam instead.)
> Furthermore, a long link does not necessarily fit into the summary
> (which is 255 bytes long, and there are a number of web pages that use
> ugly links with loads GET parameters that are longer than that), so
> some sort of separate attribution log might be more reasonable.
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